NEW images of the far side of the Moon captured by the landing camera on China’s Chang’e-4 lunar probe have been released on Thursday, as the probe made a successful touchdown on the lunar surface.
The images are highly significant as they provide documented footage of the Moon’s so-called “dark side”. With the Moon tidally locked to the Earth and rotating at the same rate that it orbits our planet, the far side or the “dark side” is never visible from Earth.
These new images offer some new insight into the previously mysterious far side of the Moon, with the Chang’e-4 probe set to conduct a series of experiments to further explore the unknown lunar regions.
Yang Yuguang, a professor at the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation, said the successful touchdown is a major milestone for China’s future lunar exploration projects.
“The far side of the Moon is so meaningful. It has so many resources. And also, we can have a better understanding of the formation and evolution of the Moon in the future. So in the future I believe that China’s lunar exploration project has three steps — orbiting, landing, and also sample return. The Chang’e-5 mission will have sample returns from the near side of the Moon. We believe that it will be necessary and very meaningful to have samples back from the far side of the Moon,“ said Yang in an in interview with the China Global Television Network (CGTN).
“This time the Chang’e-4 mission have a very good start. We have mastered the technology to land on the far side of the Moon, and the landing technology itself and also the data-reading technology. So it will be a very good preparation for the future potential sample return missions from the far side of the Moon and especially important and meaningful from the South Pole regions,“ the professor added.